Mark Holbrook’s July 12 Maine Voices column gets it wrong in at least two important ways.

First, he takes on those who oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act by claiming that their predictions that some people will die as a result of a repeal are “wild” and false. But it is true that some people likely will die as a result of a repeal. The current Senate bill will lead to 22 million people losing coverage by 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report on the bill. Well-founded research shows that expanding health coverage (whether through private insurance or Medicaid) lowers death rates, especially for treatable conditions.

By the same token, reducing health coverage will increase death rates, experts have found. So, sadly, the prediction that some people will die as a result of the repeal is probably correct.

Second, he claims that these dire predictions about the consequences of the health care law’s repeal are connected to a range of things such as Kathy Griffin’s Twitter post, Berkeley’s failure to protect the free speech of conservatives on campus, and a widespread acceptance of violence as a means to an end.

I completely agree that these episodes are unacceptable and that violence is not a means to an end. I also agree that our political discourse should be both fact-based and civil. But highlighting the likely effects of an Affordable Care Act repeal is not what leads to these intolerable outcomes.

Jennifer Wriggins



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